One of the most popular Halo characters has undergone a redesign for the upcoming live-action TV series. Master Chief’s sarcastic AI companion, Cortana, no longer resembles a naked woman made of purple Matrix code. Instead, she’s a more muted colour and wears some kind of uniform. This has caused a degree of consternation among a certain, vocal section of the fanbase.
Speaking to GamesRadar, Halo executive producer Kiki Wolfkill, who is also head of transmedia at 343 Industries, explained the decision behind the redesign, reminding fans that Cortana’s design has fluctuated several times through the game series.
“In this situation, it’s so very different from the games in that she has to feel real,” she explained. “And by that, I don’t mean feel like a real human. She has to feel like a real AI, a real hologram, and be a character that real people are acting against… That was really the impetus in designing her – how do we make her feel very tangible in this Halo world?”
Jen Taylor, the actor who’s portrayed Cortana since the very first Halo game, has also defended the redesign. Taylor said she understands why fans are so protective of that initial design but added she’s interested in seeing what the new version looks like.
Taylor explained this is “a pretty different Cortana to the one we’ve met before” and one that has differed goals to the character we’ve seen in the videogames. The sci-fi series is set in a separate timeline from the game canon and will deviate from the established story.
The initial reaction to Halo was quite muted, but Paramount clearly has faith in it, having already renewed it for a second season before the first aired.
If you want to watch the Halo TV series when it debuts on March 24, you’ll need to subscribe to Paramount Plus.